All local police departments should show their openness to the community by enabling citizens to file complaints about officers without fear of reprisal.
That means providing a form to anyone who requests it, no questions asked, and perhaps making the form available online.
While we have been critical of the trend of ambush videos that seem to serve little purpose other than to insult and humiliate police officers, they sometimes expose actual problems.
A recent video that circulated online, involves the camera operator repeatedly asking an Anderson Police Department officer for a form to file a complaint. The officer, who remains calm and polite throughout the video, says that it is against policy to give someone the form but that he can come inside and fill out the form with an officer.
Departments should have a complaint filing process that can be completed without the oversight of a police officer. The presence of an officer may intimidate some who wish to complain and may reduce the confidence that the complaint will be taken seriously.
On Tuesday morning, The New York Times reported unrest in Chicago with crowds clashing with police, believed to be sparked by officers shooting a 20-year-old man who police say fired at them first.
Chicago’s unrest may be the latest development in an ongoing movement across the country calling for a reform of police departments after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Now more than ever, our police departments should work with their communities to create an atmosphere of cooperation and transparency. This means facilitating an open dialogue with the citizens they are pledged to protect and serve.